Ankeny Nurse Makes Heroic Efforts to Save Missouri Duck Boat Victims

BRANSON, Missouri – An Ankeny nurse was among the heroes who worked to save some of the victims of a deadly duck boat accident in Missouri Thursday that claimed 17 lives.

Wade and Melissa Johnson of Ankeny were vacationing in Branson, waiting to board the Branson Belle showboat on Table Rock Lake when a storm whipped up unexpectedly. They ran for cover to a nearby shop, where the overheard someone say one of the duck boats had capsized.

Wade, an emergency room nurse and member of the Iowa Army National Guard, went outside and saw some of the people from the boat struggling in the water. He asked a Branson Belle crew member if he could be of help because of his medical training. A few minutes later he was able to go down to the deck, where other crew members from the boat had been pulling people from the water and throwing them life jackets.

Channel 13’s Andy Fales spoke with Wade and Melissa Friday about their experience.

Wade said he performed CPR on some of the victims. Two of his patients were deceased at the scene, one of which was a child. While he doesn’t know the condition of the other patients he worked on after they left the scene, Wade said at least two of his other patients were alive when he passed care along to emergency responders.

“I feel pretty good just knowing that I helped out and did everything I could in my power during this tragic event. I do feel sad and I can feel for the loss of the families, knowing that they are now without their loved ones while they are here,” said Wade.

Melissa said she was sick to her stomach about the situation, knowing that many of the victims were doing just what her family was – trying to have fun on vacation.

Wade and Melissa plan to return to Iowa Saturday.